The Simple, yet Profound Way that Jesus Culture Began
What really changes a nation? What sets in on a particular course?
Movements happen in every generation. Some fade out over time and disappear. Others transform nations.
The power of a movement is not when it is manufactured, or forced, or even started out of anger/violence etc. The most powerful movements start when something deep within someone is touched, pulled on – desire is awakened, and that same desire is found within a large group of people. As people are exposed to the movement and they realize that the same desire is within them, they join. Jesus Culture was not “built”. It was not planned. It was “birthed”. It is a growing organism. A movement carried and spread by the organism, not by a leader (although there are leaders who facilitate it). It’s the collective yearning of a group of people that keep the movement alive…not just alive, but growing, and fast. Movements, when sustained, lead to revolution. That is the heart and desire of Banning Liebscher, the Director of Jesus Culture, and that is exactly what’s happening.
When we look back in history, the most powerful transformation of societies, the successful formation and growth of religions, and the creation and destruction of nations all started from a movement that grew into a revolution.
The power of Jesus Culture is in its mission. The goal is not to affect governmental change or to push an ideal. The goal is simply to lead young people to experience the radical love of God. That alone has the power to truly transform nations. When Banning launched the first Jesus Culture Conference in 1999, he didn’t know it was going to grow into what it is today. Movements aren’t predictable, after all.
So how did Jesus Culture start? How did such a powerful movement begin? It’s much more simple than you might think.
It started with one word: “Yes.”
We’ve said that many times on this blog, but it’s power is worth noting again in this example. Saying yes is powerful.
Banning Liebscher said yes. He had a dream in his heart to raise a generation who would transform and disciple nations with the love of God. The dream wouldn’t leave him. It was the driving force when he was a youth pastor in a small California mountain town and it’s still the driving force now. It was in his heart and he had to make it a reality. He didn’t follow certain steps to grow. He didn’t create a huge platform from which to shout to gather attention. He just said yes. He gathered a small group of people with the same desire and vision and held one conference with about 500 people. It was the one-time meeting that was the physical manifestation of the dream within him, or better put: the dream that was placed within him. At the time, that was huge. 500 people was a lot of people to them. But the desire within Banning was a seed, that when planted, began to grow. Now Jesus Culture travels all over the world and their impact reaches millions. And it’s that same ”yes” that he says every time. It’s the same desire that drives him. The desire fulfilled looks like nations transformed, but it started with 500 people.
If you haven’t heard of Jesus Culture at this point, then you’ve been living under a rock. The effect of this movement has touched this entire nation and many other parts of the world, and it’s still growing. The same passion that was there in the beginning is still there. Banning had a BIG dream. Banning’s desire was so big that it required a movement, a revolution to come to pass. Did that stop him? No. He said yes. He’s still saying yes.
What’s most amazing about this movement, and one of its most profound components, is found in Banning’s story and in his heart. When I asked people if they had heard of Jesus Culture, almost everyone said yes. When I asked if they knew who Banning Liebscher was, most said no. I think Banning likes it that way. Banning is quick to point out that the true power and success of this movement is not himself. It’s someone else that he desires to make famous.
After all, it’s not called Banning Culture.